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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

No-Knead Bread Second Attempt

Immediately after my first attempt at no-knead bread (in which I was somewhat disappointed), I decided to try again. Again, I started with Jim Lahey's recipe (1 1/2 cups of water, as recommended in the video). I used two cups of wheat flour and one cup of bread flour, and left out the yogurt this time. I didn't add any flour.

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water

I made up the dough at 10 on Thursday morning, stirring it up until it was well-blended. Because of several interruptions, I am pretty sure I accidentally added the salt twice. But it's really hard to pick it all out again, and doesn't it seem wasteful to throw out all that dough and start over? It seemed a little moister then last time -- just a little too moist to be "shaggy". But I left it on the counter (I could not resist giving it a sort of kneading stir-down a couple of times) until bed time, then put it in the fridge...

At 7 on Friday morning, I pulled the dough out of the fridge. At 9 AM, I cut it into 12 pieces, formed each into a little round oat-studded sandwich-roll and set to rise on a tea-towel well-strewn with rolled oats, and covered them all with another tea towel. Most of the rolls weighed about 2.3 ounces, about the same as Amoroso's sandwich rolls. An hour and a half later, I preheated the bread stone to 500F. At 11, I lowered the oven temperature to 450 and lifted the tea towel. There were my rolls. They hadn't risen much. Maybe they would spring up in the oven? In any case, I didn't have time to mess around because I needed to get them in and out of the oven so I could get to the bus-stop at noon and continue packing for a weekend trip. So I popped the rolls onto the stone, poured some nearly-boiling water into the brownie pan on the shelf below, and baked those rolls for 20 minutes.

They were lovely little things, but really too small for a sandwich. If I hadn't been packing so frantically while also trying to eliminate ants, I would have photographed them for you. Apparently, they were quite popular -- there wasn't even one stale one left for pictures by the end of the weekend, even though had rushed out to buy a bag of Padinha sandwich rolls. Strangely, some family members chose them over another slice of home-made raisin bread. And my daughter actually made sandwiches on them, folding the ham and cheese slices over and over until they fit the tiny rolls.

Here are the problems I had with these rolls:

  • Last rise failed and no oven spring
  • Didn't have the crackly crust

Here's what went better than last time:

  • More flavorful (I probably doubled the salt!)
  • Uniform texture
  • Crust did not seem too tough for the roll.

Where did I go wrong? Did I overhandle the very wet dough, deflating the bubbles beyond what it was able to recover in the 2-hour rise?

So I am going to try another no-knead loaf. This time I will try one "Artisan Breads in 5 minutes" style, at least as far as the flour/water ratio goes. And I want to try the longer-term refrigerator storage. I don't want to double the salt for flavor. And I don't want a soupy dough or a wet loaf. I'll start with the recipe posted in the NY Times and wing it, using my usual 2/3 whole wheat to 1/3 bread flour blend. I made my usual sandwich loaf last night. This will make sandwiches for my family through Friday, so I'll be making bread Friday morning with a dough that's had a long, slow fermentation in the refrigerator. And I'll be wondering how, with every blogger in the US advertising it, the NY Times is suffering such financial hard times.

Edited on 5 May 2008 to correct spelling of Padinha

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

No-Knead Bread First attempt

I'm only about 18 months late on this hot trend. I was completely aware of the hoopla about no-knead bread. First, it was Mark Bittman's NY Times article on Jim Lahey's no-knead bread from a Manhattan bakery. The food-blogosphere fairly exploded with no-knead covereage and home bakers in record numbers began destroying the knobs on their Le Creuset Dutch Ovens. Then, a year later, another NY Times article reviewed Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and the same bloggers said this bread was even easier.

Even one of my favorite food bloggers wrote about the joys of no-knead bread. But I was unmoved. All this time, I have had my own, reliable, slow-rise bread recipe. I've been making my bread machine knead the dough in the evening and rise all night until finally baking it early in the morning, finishing just in time to wake me to the smell of fresh-baked bread, ready to slice for sandwich. And I knew that making no-knead bread from a slack dough was not new. Some cooks even insist on kneading slack doughs. But I digress....

What really got me interested in making no-knead bread from a slack dough was a FoodontheFood entry on making sauerkraut at home. I'm not kidding. A discussion of lacto-fermentation ensued, and it got me to thinking about how those pictures of no-knead bread boules look like a really nice sourdough. And I really love sourdough. And I like the shatteringly flakey crust you get on a nice Parisian baguette. Or the flakey crust on a loaf from Sarcone's in Philadelphia. Or the chewy crust on the semi-sourdough loaf I get from Big Sky Bread Company at the West Chester Grower's
So I finally started my own no-knead loaf. I started with Jim Lahey's recipe from Mark Bittman's column. I made up the dough the night before last, substituting a tablespoon of plain yogurt for a tablespoon of water. For lacto-fermentation, of course. I thought the dough was soupy, rather than shaggy, so I added a bit more flour. I let the dough rise overnight, put it in the refrigerator in the morning, took it out again at dinner time and did the 15-second fold over. I baked the bread in a Corning ware casserole (30 minutes covered, 25 minutes uncovered) at 500F until its internal temperature was 205F -- I'm not much good at judging loaves by thumping.

The dough started out shaggy, then bubbly and stringy. Rolled oats kept it from sticking to the tea-towel during its final 2-hour rise. That worked well, but the tea towel really got damp. I plopped the bread into the preheated casserole. The loaf came out beautiful. And it crackled as it cooled, just like a bowl of Rice Crispies. Very exciting.

I cut a slice and it was beautiful -- all full of big holes. The crust was crunchy and crumbly. But not flaky -- it was kind of hard. And, when I got to the center of the loaf, I could see that the holes were much smaller. When I poked at it, the interior was harder, like it had a backbone. It was really moist, too. Not custardy or like a good, moist popover. Moister and tougher at the same time, which didn't seem like a good good.

And the loaf did not seem as tasty as my usual overnight bread machine loaf, which has olive oil and honey to liven it up. The tablespoon-full of yogurt definitely did not do anything for the loaf. Now I can see, among all the raves, some criticisms, adjustments, and rejiggerings of the no-knead recipes. I've even seen as assertion that Peter Reinhart's recipe for pain à l'ancienne is much tastier. Since it has exactly the same ingredients in similar proportions, I don't know why. But I would like to find out.

Here are the problems I had with this boule

  • Too moist
  • Hard, dense interior
  • Not very flavorful
  • Crust hard and brittle, not flakey and brittle
I think the first thing I need to do is lower the baking temperature. Maybe the outside of the loaf gets cooked before the interior has a chance to spring up in the oven. Probably making baguettes or rolls would have less of a problem. So now I am working on batch number two, which I will make into sandwich rolls. It is fermenting away on my counter right now. No yogurt this time., The dough seems just a tad moister than "shaggy". I'll see how it turns out.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Baked cod with garlic ginger oil

Last night for dinner, I made a bunch of dishes "match", like they really belonged together in the same meal. Even though they were really just a bunch of things I pulled out because I decided they needed to be eaten.

  • 1 pound of mahimahi fillets
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound of fresh broccoli
  • Leftover rice
  • A green salad

I started with an idea approximately like this recipe for baked fish, but didn't really feel like using jerk- or Cajun- style seasonings again. I knew the kids insist fish is only good with ponzu sauce, and that spaghetti squash always seems to come out too watery and crisp or else overcooked and mushy. I had a moment of discouragement and panicked. Some part of me reached about 20 years back, to a time when my only seasonings were powdered garlic, powdered ginger, and soy sauce. Since then, though, I've learned a few things....

You can finish baked spaghetti squash in a pan to drive out extra water and control how much it cooks. Lemon juice is really good on fish. Ponzu sauce has citrus and sweetness in it. You need oil to finish baked spaghetti squash in a skillet. You can use the same oil to dress the baked fish, and broccoli tastes good with a little bit of oil, too.

So I came to my senses and did something like this:

  1. Split a spaghetti squash in half the long way, forced the halves, face-down, into a pretty baking dish with 1/4 cup of water, covered it, and microwaved for 10 minutes
  2. Heated a large skillet, then added 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 huge clove of garlic (minced), and a small knob of fresh garlic (minced), left it cooking slowly over low heat for about 10 minutes, and then turned off the heat.
  3. Cut up the broccoli crowns, put them in the steamer basket over water in the saucepan, ready to go.
  4. Took the hot squash out of the microwave and dried the baking dish
  5. Put the fish fillets in the same baking dish (this was my second-cleverest idea all evening), squirted them with lemon juice, spooned a tablespoon or less of the garlic-ginger oil on them, and sprinkled them with sugar and just a tiny bit of low-Sodium soy sauce.
  6. Spooned a little bit of oil into a very small bowl, to save it for the broccoli
  7. Scraped the spaghetti squash into the skillet with the rest of the seasoned oil, and gave it a good stir to break it up into strands and mix the oil around a bit.
  8. Then I waited until twenty 'till dinner time and preheated the oven to 350°F
  9. At quarter 'till dinner time, I put the baking dish in the oven.
  10. At ten 'till, I turned on the heat under the broccoli (high) and the squash (medium). While the broccoli steamed, I stirred the squash strands as gently as I could with a pair of tongs to finish them cooking evenly, drive off the excess water, and make sure the flavor was evenly distributed. Then I turned off the heat and put the lid on the squash.
  11. At 5 'till, I pulled leftover rice out of the refrigerator, and popped it into the microwave for 3 minutes.
  12. At 3 'till, I took the broccoli out of the steamer and dressed it with the reserved oil and just a drop of soy sauce.
  13. At dinner time I pulled the baking pan out of the oven and set it on a trivet on the table.
  14. I added a tiny sprinkle of soy sauce to the squash and brought everything else to the table.

If that sounds too good to be true, it's the "something like" talking. Actually, I had already dressed the fish with powdered garlic and ginger before I realized flavored oil would be better and just as easy. The waiting in steps 8 and 9 was not as relaxing as you might think, as I spent the time shouting at the kids to clear and set the table instead of playing with the accumulated toys, newspapers, and junk mail. I didn't actually do step 6. Instead, I scraped the squash into a large bowl and left the oil in the skillet until the broccoli was ready. I had thought I might serve the squash in the bowl, but the bowl was cold by serving time and I served the squash in the skillet. It's a nice-looking skillet. Sometime during step 10, I checked the fish, panicked, and turned the oven up to 400°F. I didn't make the rice myself -- my husband had made it to go with his Red Stripe chili the night before. And did you notice the salad was MIA? I discovered a lettuce shortage during step 8. But it's the thought that counts. I chopped up extra broccoli.

Fish baked this way is just about foolproof (why did I panic?), and looks smashing on a bed of spaghetti squash. The kids didn't even complain about it (much). The spaghetti squash was seconds-worthy, the broccoli was just as good as always and maybe a little better. The rice was as good as it had been the night before, and nobody asked about the salad. This was a successful 50-minute weeknight meal. If I had known what I was doing, I probably could have done it more quickly, but I still would have had to allow time for the fish to thaw.

Baked Fish Dinner with Garlic Ginger Oil

Recipe By: Family Nutritionist
Serving Size: 4
Main Ingredient:

-= Ingredients =-
3/4 pound raw fish fillets
1 teaspoon Lemon juice
2 tablespoon Olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 oz Fresh ginger
1/2 pound Spaghetti Squash
2 cups Broccoli florets
4 cups Romaine
1 tablespoon Low-sodium soy sauce
2 cups Cooked brown rice

Serving: 3 oz fish, 1/2 cup each broccoli, spaghetti squash, and rice, 1 cup romaine (346g), Calories: 279: Fat: 8g : Sodium: 208mg
Protein: 20g, NetCarbs: 28, K: 754mg
SatFat: 1g, PolyFat: 1g, MonoFat: 5g, Chol: 37mg
TotCarbs: 31g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 1g
Calories: 28.0% from fat, 44.4% from carbohydrates 07.2% from protein

DASH: Vegetables: 3.0: Fruits/Juices: 0.0: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 1.0: Meat/Fish: 1.0: Seeds: 0.0: Fats: 1.5: Sweets: 0.0
USDA: Vegetables: 1.5: Fruits/Juices: 0.0: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 1.0: Meat/Fish/Seeds: 1.0: Fats: 1.5: Sweets: 0.0

Edited on 7 April 2008 to correct errors in nutritional information and to add the rice, which I had left out of the original posting.

Nutritional information in this post calculated using bigoven. Food Group Servings calculated in EXCEL using http://www.mypyramid.gov/ and DASH diet references

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Caribbean Flavor: Jamaican-Style Jerk Ribs

We were planning to have a few people over (11 or 14) to make some summer plans, it was March, and everyone was tired of winter. So something warm and cheery was in order. My husband wanted ribs. So I immediately thought of a Caribbean-inspired menu. Just as soon as I had stumbled across the Caribbean Getaway Menu on the Wegmans website. It was only a starting point. I made ribs instead of a roast, forgot about shrimp, decided on a straightforward Cuban black bean soup, made up my own recipe for greens, cut the desserts down to one, and decided on a blend of tropical fruit juices (with or without rum) instead of the Mojito.

I've done dry-rubbed pork loin short ribs before. They really take up the flavor of the rub well, so I made up a jerk-style dry rub based on several recipes I've read. We were lucky enough to get 90 minutes of good weather that day. The aroma and flavor were really wonderful. I made sure to have tangy barbecue sauce available, but I enjoyed the ribs just as they came off the grill, with mango rice and a side of greens. ...

Jamaican-Style Pork Spareribs

-= Ingredients =-
~~ Jerk Seasoning (see recipe) ~~
2 lb Pork spareribs

-= Instructions =-
Rub Jerk Seasoning onto all surfaces of ribs. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Place ribs in center of cooking grate. Grill (indirect, medium heat) 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender.

Cut ribs into 2 or 3-rib portions. Serve with warmed sauce.

Nutritional Information (not including rub or barbecue sauce):
Serving Size: 1/3 of rack ( 157g): Calories: 454: Fat(g): 32 (69%of Cals): Sodium (g): 117
Protein: 26g, NetCarbs: 4, K: 432mg
SatFat: 14g, PolyFat: 3g, MonoFat: 15g, Chol: 118mg
TotCarbs: 5g, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: 3g

Food Group Serving(s)
DASH: Vegetables: 0.0: Fruits/Juices: 0.0: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 0.0: Meat/Fish: 1.2: Seeds: 0.0: Fats: 0.0: Sweets: 0.0
USDA: Vegetables: 0.0: Fruits/Juices: 0.0: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 0.0: Meat/Fish/Seeds: 3.7: Fats: 0.0: Sweets: 0.0

Jerk Rub for Jamaican Style Pork Spare Ribs

-= Ingredients =-
2 tablespoon Onion powder
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 teaspoon Allspice
1/2 teaspoon Ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Cayenne

-= Instructions =-
In a small jar with tight-fitting lid, shake together all dry ingredients until well-blended. Rub dry mixture onto all surfaces of ribs. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Serving: 1 tsp (3g), Calories: 8: Fat: 0g (13% of Cals): Sodium: 278mg
Protein: 0g, NetCarbs: 2, K: 15mg
SatFat: 0g, PolyFat: 0g, MonoFat: 0g, Chol: 0mg
TotCarbs: 2g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 1g

Nutritional information in this post calculated using bigoven. Food Group Servings calculated in EXCEL using http://www.mypyramid.gov/ and DASH diet references

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Caribbean Flavor: Coconutty Fruit Salad

The sweetened, flaked coconut makes this fruit salad sweet enough for a light dessert, and is welcome after a filling meal of soup, rice, greens, a nice salad, and Jamaican-style Jerk Ribs, corn muffins, and appetizers.

Coconutty Fruit Salad

-= Ingredients =-
3/5 cup Sweetened Flaked coconut
1/3 pound mango
1/3 pound Pineapple
1/3 pound Papaya
3/10 Lime juice

-= Instructions =-
Toast coconut in dry pan on medium flame, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently, and watch carefully.
Combine fruits and lime juice with coconut in bowl. Garnish with mint leaves, if desired.

Serving Size: 1/2 cups( 86g): Calories: 75: Fat(g): 2 (31%of Cals): Sodium (g): 20
Protein: 1g, NetCarbs: 12, K: 159mg
SatFat: 2g, PolyFat: 0g, MonoFat: 0g, Chol: 0mg
TotCarbs: 14g, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 11g

Food Group Serving(s)
DASH: Vegetables: 0.0: Fruits/Juices: 1.0: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 0.0: Meat/Fish: 0.0: Seeds: 0.3: Fats: 0.0: Sweets: 0.2
USDA: Vegetables: 0.0: Fruits/Juices: 0.5: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 0.0: Meat/Fish/Seeds: 0.3: Fats: 0.0: Sweets: 0.2

Nutritional information in this post calculated using bigoven. Food Group Servings calculated in EXCEL using http://www.mypyramid.gov/ and DASH diet references

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Caribbean Flavor: Mango Rice

In a menu that's full of Caribbean flavor, plain rice just seems so plain. It doesn't take much to boost the flavor, though. In a pinch, you can skip the whole "broil the scallions" step.

-= Exported from BigOven =-

Mango Rice

Recipe By:
Serving Size: 8
Cuisine: Caribbean
Main Ingredient: Rice
Categories: Vegan, Steam, Side Dish

-= Ingredients =-
1 1/3 cup Long grain rice ; jasmine or doongara
1/2 tablespoon Vegetable oil ; or butter
3 medium Scallion
1 medium mango ; 1" dice
1/2 Lime juice

-= Instructions =-
Prepare rice according to package directions.

Toss green onions with olive oil; broil 4-5 minutes and slice into narrow rings.

Fluff rice in large bowl; toss with onions, mango, and Lime juice

Serving Size: .6 cup (132g) Calories: 297: Fat(g): 5 (16%of Cals): Sodium (g): 7
Protein: 3g, NetCarbs: 27, K: 127mg
SatFat: 0g, PolyFat: 0g, MonoFat: 1g, Chol: 0mg
TotCarbs: 29g, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 4g

Food Group Serving(s)
DASH: Vegetables: 0.0: Fruits/Juices: 0.25: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 1.0: Meat/Fish: 0.0: Seeds: 0.0: Fats: 0.2: Sweets: 0.0
USDA: Vegetables: 0.0: Fruits/Juices: 0.1: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 1.0: Meat/Fish/Seeds: 0.0: Fats: 0.2: Sweets: 0.0

** This recipe can be pasted into BigOven without retyping. **
** Easy recipe software. Try it free at: http://www.bigoven.com **

Nutritional information in this post calculated using bigoven. Food Group Servings calculated in EXCEL using http://www.mypyramid.gov/ and DASH diet references

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